Monday, September 20, 2010

Do Blogs Create a Poverty of Attention?

"What information consumes is rather obvious: it consumes the attention of its recipients. Hence a wealth of information creates a poverty of attention, and a need to allocate that attention efficiently among the over-abundance of information sources that might consume it."
So said Herbert Alexander Simon (1915-2001), American social scientist, economist and Nobel Laureate.

When I read the above quote, it occurred to me we could substitute the word "Blog" or "internet" for "information" in the piece. I sometimes think we are all drowning in the over-abundance of information at our finger tips.

My father died when I was nine. My mother kept his memory alive in my mind by telling me many things about him. She thought he, Benjamin Wilson Baird, was very wise and often mentioned to me his beliefs and his understanding of issues.

In Mama's amazing love and respect for this man, she seemed to think her husband and my father, Benjamin Wilson Baird, had the last word on matters of faith and values.

For example, she told me one time, in conversation about theology, "I don't think your daddy would agree with that."
In conversation Mama mentioned to me about a time early on when their church was questioning about the influence of "movies" or "picture shows" on the lives of adults as well as children. Mama told me about my father's view on this issue about whether or not Christians should be spending time at the movies.

This was before Hollywood's binge on violence and gratuitous sex. Even before Clark Gable and Gone With the Wind's famous "damn." We have a different set of issues today.

Anyway, Mama said Papa did not see movies as a problem as such for Christians to see and enjoy. The major problem with movies ,Wilson Baird thought, she told me, was our taking time away from more important ways one could be spending our precious allotment of time which brings us back to the quote by Alexander Simon.

Psalms 90 reminds us that in the eyes of God, "1000 years is as a day when it is past," and goes on to tell us "so teach us to number our days." If we should live to be 100, it is a brief time in the light of eternity. So life here is a preparation for life eternally.

But this does not mean we are to keep our noses to the grindstone. We all need recreation and leisure time. From my mother's point of view, Papa had a good sense of humor and they found much to enjoy and laugh about.

But we have to make some choice about how we spend our precious allotment of time.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Weeding out Leukemia in Lily's Garden!

September is Childhood Cancer Month! We neeed to get serious about raising money to fund reseach into a cure for Childhood Cancer!

It has been over two years since our precious great -grand-daughter, Lily at age seven was diagnosed with Pre-B ALL (Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia) on December 1, 2008.

Lily has learned a lot since this picture was taken. She has shown incredible courage beyond her years.

I recently filled in for the pastor at Beech Creek United Methodist Church, who took a well-deserved day off to visit family. While at Beech Creek I met a beautiful 4 year old boy named Nick who was born with brittle bones (osteogenesis imperfecta). In fact ,Nick was baptised by Dr. Bob Ozment signifying he is a child of God until he reaches the age of accountability when he can accept Jesus for himself. Nick is a beautiful and intelligent child. I do not know his complete diagnosis but, depending on the severity, osteogenesis imperfecta can significantly shorten one lifespan. This is only one of Childhood diseases we do to do serious reseach to find the cause and cure.

As Lily's family, we have become acquainted with more and more children, like Nick, suffering from some form of cancer or terminal illness! We ask for prayer for Nick and Lily and all these children and to consider supporting vital research to find causes and cures.

Lily's doctor explained leukemia by telling her that the leukemia cells are like weeds that crowd out the good flowers in a garden. Lily has passed some important milestones in her treatments in order to kill all the weeds so that only healthy and beautiful flowers will grow in "Lily's Garden." Lily and her family are reaching out and working and raising funds to find a cure for childhood cancers that attack children in frightening numbers.